5.17.2012

When a Recipe for Success Fails

Marissa shared an article on Twitter this morning that caught my attention. It is about a 29-year-old guy who shares the reality and difficulty of landing a job in this economy. Not just any job, but a job with upward mobility and job security to put him on the path we all expected to be on by the age of 30 (marriage, kids, saving for retirement…sound familiar?).

Bridget brought up a great point, and said, “It's not a race. People put really twisted self-imposed timelines for ‘accomplishments.’”

She’s absolutely right. Millennials were brought up by our parents from previous generations, who were all following a certain “Recipe for Success,” if you will.

Following the Recipe for Success

My parents are Gen Xers, and my mom came as an immigrant. Parents have showered us with hope and a bright future, expecting that a college education will bring wealth almost immediately after graduation. Now that there is plenty of competition and a degree is parallel to a high school diploma, more and more students are going to graduate school in hopes of finding that financial security we were promised. We worked hard and we thought we would get what we wanted just by completing our education.

This “Recipe” that we have been fed and followed throughout our childhood is what it is – a recipe. Sometimes a recipe fails after many years because ingredients change or our expectations change. We can’t blame the economy and we can’t blame our parents. Just like a recipe, you can change your ingredients and play around with the recipe. You don’t have to follow it.

It Hit Close to Home

The article struck a note with me because I saw this happen to my BF just 4 years ago. I’ve seen it occur amongst my friends. I know this has been talked about again and again, but the truth is that it is extremely difficult for new grads to enter the workforce if you do not have relevant experience. If you’ve been job hunting within these past few years, you’ll notice that employers will always request 3-5 or 5-10 years of experience. They are able to hire highly skilled individuals and pay them less, so why would they take a chance with someone with 0-2 years of experience?

As a Gen Yer myself, fortunately, I was lucky to have snagged a job out of college since I have been working since I was 15, and I also have over 4 years of experience in my particular field. I went through a lot of what the author of the article went through, but luckily I had the support of my family, no undergraduate debt, and no payments to make on my behalf. I was able to job hunt for 6 months until I held out for the job I really wanted. I know this may be impossible for others so I am very grateful for the opportunity I had.

I’m still unsure of where my future is going to take me, but I know that I will never resort to feeling “entitled” to a cushy life. I already said it before and I’ll say it again. I have accepted that I may not get to go on lots of expensive vacations, buy a huge house, hire a housekeeper or nanny, drive a nice car, or even have more than one child. Thinking of the worst prepares you for it, but it doesn’t mean I have to or will stop trying to achieve that lifestyle.

The Future

It saddens me to read comments on many different articles like these, where the Gen X’ers and Baby Boomers are quick to scream, “Entitlement!” or “Grow up, you lazy bastard!” No one at all understands the difficulty of being in this situation unless you actually put yourself in the shoes of someone who is going through it. Inflation continues to rise while starting salaries continue to drop. We’re all struggling to keep up, young and old.

The older generations must help us as much as they can before they try to quickly write us off. We hold the future in our hands. We’ll actually be renting more or buying smaller homes because we won’t have enough money to pay for student loans, retirement AND a big mortgage payment each month (unless you live in an area where renting is more expensive than buying). We’ll be spending less on consumer goods. We’ll be paying fewer taxes. Who will be buying the Boomers's and Gen X'ers's  homes in the future if we can’t afford to?

Then again, as I mentioned.. we can change this recipe. It has been proven doable by many young people. We have creative ideas and we are hard workers, and this is illustrated through many young entrepreneurs that create successful companies, bloggers that make blogging a full-time job, and people who take on side hustles to pay off debt quickly. Don't let that recipe for success limit you. You can change it.

Check out this chart comparing home prices in Canada from 1984 to present prices. Scary! Then again, I guess we are all not cut out for home ownership.


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What are your thoughts regarding this recipe for success? Know any Millennials who are in this current situation?

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